This Saturday, July 30th, 2011 will mark 4 years of continuous sobriety for me. Four years. That seems unfathomable to me. That means that today, July 29th, marks the 4 year anniversary of my last drink. It’s funny that we celebrate one of the worst times in our lives.
With flowers and cupcakes, cards and medallions. But it’s not our bottom that we celebrate, it’s the action of getting sober worth celebrating. That is the turning point. That one decision changed my whole life.
Many of you know that July 30th wasn’t my first attempt at sobriety. In fact my original clean date was March 31, 2007. [Forgive me if the following is a repeated version of previous posts!] I was clean for 99 days and then I relapsed on purpose – believing that as a 21 year old living in NYC for the summer that I should be able to drink like everyone else, whether I was an addict or not. So on my 99th day of being clean, I woke up and decided I would drink that night. I went about my day as usual, went to my 5pm NA meeting, walked home with a relapsing addict who co-signed my bullshit and gave me some suggestion about drinking “moderation.” Yes, because that’s what I wanted to do. I called my sponsor to tell her I was going to drink (it was our agreement to have a discussion first if I was going to use) and luckily I got her voicemail. And then I drank all night, regretted it in the morning and came crawling back to the rooms sobbing. Another 11 days clean and I drank again at a work event. After that I stopped counting days because I didn’t think I wanted to be clean anymore.
I wasn’t near death at that point, or so I thought. I was drinking but not using drugs. It wasn’t enough though. Alcohol wasn’t working, I needed drugs, but I seemed to have lost the ability to find them, or perhaps my HP was doing for me what I couldn’t do for myself. I was screwing up at my internship. Life was miserable.
I remember my last drink relatively clearly. It was Sunday night on July 29th. Leo and I and Leo’s bestfriend went to Justin Timberlake’s restaurant Southern Hospitality on the Upper East Side because they were supposed to have beer pong tables. They didn’t have the tables for whatever reason, but we stayed for the beer and the southern comfort food. I have two pictures of us from that night – in both I am making inappropriate hand gestures. I wasn’t drunk though, I think I only had about 4 drinks. Nothing wild and crazy. Like I said, alcohol wasn’t working anymore. I don’t remember feeling all that self destructive that night, but I do remember not feeling OK.
The following Tuesday I had dinner with A, my first friend in recovery in NYC. She had just returned from her honeymoon and I told her that I had been relapsing while she was gone. She asked me if I had been going to meetings while I was drinking and admittedly I said no, that I had not because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be clean. I knew the program would work if I wanted it but I wasn’t sure I wanted it. I was near death in March, and this relapse didn’t seem to be killing me in the same way. However, I was still dying inside and I knew that drinking wasn’t my solution, it wasn’t going to be my way out. She suggested we go to a Young Peoples meeting the following night to see if I heard anything that resonated with me. A girl with nine months qualified that Wednesday and she basically told my story. I haven’t had a drink since. Thank you A for your incredible life-saving suggestion! Just one of many that have made me the person I am today.
It has been a roller coaster over the past four years. I couldn’t have done this by myself. I am eternally grateful for all the people in NA and AA who have helped save my life one day at a time. I look forward to many more years of sobriety! This Sunday I will be speaking at a 6pm meeting in my neighborhood and then celebrating at the clubhouse later that night. Send me an email if you’d like to come!! I can’t wait to embark on my 5th year of sobriety…it’s time to finally get my marbles back.
What do you like most about anniversaries?